On a chilly Oxford, Mississippi night the Ole Miss Rebels played host to the Kentucky Wildcats in a crucial Tuesday night matchup in the SEC. With both teams so desperate for a win, you got the feeling it would be a complete dog fight to the finish and that is exactly what happened. This game was an instant classic down to the closing seconds with the Kentucky Wildcats coming out on top 80-76.
Ole Miss started the game with a bang taking Kentucky to the locker-room up one. In the first half, both teams were basically even in every stat line possible, Kentucky shot 54% from the field in the first half and Ole Miss shot a close 50%. Ole Miss held a 17-13 rebound advantage over the Wildcats in the first half, which in part was probably because Kentucky was missing PJ Washington for a majority of the first half due to foul trouble.
What gave the Rebels a major halftime advantage was their free throw shooting, Ole Miss went 11-13 ( 84.6%) from the charity line. While the Wildcats shot a sloppy 2-5 ( 40%) from the line.
Coming out in the second half, Kentucky stayed hot shooting 55% ( 31-56) from the field. While the Rebels cooled off a bit shooting 40% (24-59) for the game from the field.
Kentucky hit 4-9 (44%) from behind the three-point line in the win over Ole Miss.
Ole Miss on-the-other hand went 8-25 (32%) from behind the arc.
Ole Miss outrebounded the Wildcats 37-29 on the game.
The second half was no different from the first half, both teams fought like heck for the win. It came down to who wanted it more and in this game, it was the Kentucky Wildcats with a massive 80-76 road win.
The Wildcats had to battle foul trouble and injuries to earn a hard-fought SEC road win. From Richards fouling out with 2:36 to play in the game, to playing without Reid Travis. Kentucky showed great grit and poise to earn this hard-fought win in Oxford.
With the loss, Ole Miss has now dropped three straight SEC games and will be on the road at Missouri to close out the regular season on Saturday. Ole Miss will have an opportunity at 20 wins on Saturday when the Rebels travel to Columbia, Missouri.
Kentucky improves to 20-5 on the season and 14-3 in SEC play. The Wildcats will return back home on Saturday for Senior Day when the Florida Gators travel to Lexington.
This type of game felt like an NCAA Tournament game and will likely prove to be very helpful to both teams as they stare down the tough month of March. These two teams are prime-example of how deep this conference truly is, fans across the south are in for a major treat come SEC Tournament time next week.